Cultural Memories

I could not sleep last night. It happens sometimes. But for some reason I started to think about the things that shape us. The music we listen to, the TV and movies we watch… Those sort of things.

My husband was watching something on YouTube yesterday. It was about the new Star Wars movie, but it also talked about how the whole idea of Star Wars had become integrated in culture and even society. It is true, who has not heard of The Force or Luke Skywalker, even if you have never seen the movies. I tried to remember when I first watched Star Wars. I have to say that I cannot remember. Strangely enough, my mum was really into that kind of thing when I was young. Star Wars, Star Trek, she loved all that stuff. Whereas I never understood the appeal of Star Trek (too sterile for my taste I suppose), I quickly learned to love Star Wars. In fact, I think that Luke Skywalker probably was the first guy I ever had a crush on. 🙂

I started to think about other movies or bits of music that had made an early impression on me and probably shaped my cultural awareness in one way or another. I was born in 1979, so the my first proper memories would probably be from the early 1980s. But awareness of culture comes a little later, I think. Movies I consider as cultural references to my youth are probably the obvious ones: the original Star Wars trilogy, the Back To The Future trilogy, The Karate Kid, Gremlins, The Black Stallion (planted the seed for my love of horses and racing), Indiana Jones and E.T. They are the movies I remember loving and watching every time they were on TV. I remember other things, like Police Academy (God forbid), Beverly Hills Cop, the Rocky movies and stuff like that, but I don’t think they were as relevant to me personally.

Phrases like ‘Bright light, bright light’ (Gremlins) and ‘Wax on, wax off'(The Karate Kid) are simply things of beauty that still make me smile to this day. And whenever I see Michael J Fox on TV now, he is still Marty McFly to me and I guess he will always be.

As for music. The first artists I remember hearing are the stuff my parents used to listen to (mostly my dad): The Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Dire Straits… I distinctly remember watching Live Aid on television. I was six at the time and my parents thought it was a big deal!

In the late 1980s I just remember all the children my age liking Michael Jackson and Madonna… My first foray into music for myself rather than the stuff my parents liked, probably did not come until the early 90s. My girlfriends started to be into boybands and it’s easy to get swapped along in that. I remember New Kids On The Block (do you??) and later Take That, but soon I started to drift away from that. I found it hard to really love anything around at the time. Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Pearl Jam weren’t really doing it for me, but they made an impression for sure. I swear my mum had a crush on Axl Rose at the time, ha! Everyone seemed to love Guns N’ Roses at that time. Then there was the mid nineties Britpop – that was more up my street (some of it anyway)…

I just realised I have not even talked about TV-shows. Man, things like the A-Team and Dukes Of Hazzard were a staple in my youth!

Anyway, I really have to go and do something useful and step away from this incoherent piece of rambling.

Have a good day people and don’t forget to let your mind wander into the realms of childhood memories of culture.


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